The Madwoman

The Madwoman

(Written in the earliest days of the 40+year journey
that has led me to the spaces where I now live and write.)

There is a madwoman who, naked and alone, lies on the beach whenever the sun shines. Greased with oils and floured with a fine spray of sand, her full body glows golden brown. Breathing with the breaking waves, tuned to the hum of that earth place, she is soaring on the winds: sensing, exploring, gathering strange and tantalizing networks of information. If you listen with the proper ear you can hear she is talking to herself inside the opalescent haze.

The madwoman and I have lived together for 35 years. For 32 of those years I have played the part of her keeper. Thanklessly and dutifully I have tried to contain her, to restrain her from visiting her madness on the world. On the whole, I fear, I haven't done quite as well as I've meant. Like a mischievous child she is wont to pop up, sticking out her tongue, making obscene faces and weird noises just when I'm sure I've finally gotten her tightly in hand. Inopportune to say the least.

Still, sometimes I've been able to feel both fascinated and tickled by the ingenious ways she finds to make her presence felt no matter what I do to hide her. Perhaps that in some way accounts for the more recent developments in our life together. The balance has changed between us. I've grown less afraid for her and less afraid of her. I've grown weary of the cat and mouse games we've played, tired of draining my energy to build a proper fortress to contain her – especially since none I've built were ever in the least way adequate. Sooner or later, I was left there, sweating, holding tight the cell door only to discover she was already outside, cavorting some place or other. She is quite an artist of escape and escapade.

She has now become my protector. But, while I as keeper tried to hold her in, she seems to be a guide for getting me out of our drama and into strange and wonderful new worlds of experience. Always before it's been excruciating to accept the student position. I needed to structure the teachers' teaching in my own manner before incorporating it. Still, the madwoman's method is Socratic and infinitely patient. She leads me gently to the edge of discovery and waits without expectation until I dare to open my eyes.

A strange and marvelous sense of adoration for the madwoman fills me – I for whom loving has been such a challenge. In the past, I've feared the vulnerability of loving, the loss of the power I needed to keep her contained. Now I'm romantic, tantalized, fascinated – totally absorbed in this crazy lady.

Songs of The Madwoman

I hear the songs of the madwoman

The moon-mother-goddess power

Within me

Within all women.

The holocaust has started

She is rising


Shrieking with joy!

And I am



Being with

Her power

The power

That comes with letting go.

I am becoming

The madwoman–mother–child I was born to be

I am becoming a wild woman-child in the world.

And Great Mother guides me through

The threshold

To the wisdom of madness

The madwoman has wrested the controls

We are careening

A mad roller coaster ride

Hair and scarf tangles

Riding gales of shrieking laughter.

See me here

Plastered to the ceiling

By the forces of my own gravity.

Features distorted in terror

Held back

By the straining to be free.

I fish

My intellect a net

To gather in the turbulence –

A holy war

My endless crusade

Counting fingers and toes

I make my self real

Reeling in the force of her

Blasting me

Fragments of oblivion


Plasticine and Thorazine my weapons

Her head is always just beyond

The reach of my mace.

I am being run away with,

Is this panic my fear

Of delight.